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Pelosi calls for U.S. and world leaders to boycott China's 2022 Olympics

WorldMay 19, 2021 05:31AM ET
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© Reuters. U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at a news conference in the United States Capitol about the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, in Washington, U.S., May 18, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

By Michael Martina and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday called for a U.S. diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, criticizing China for human rights abuses and saying global leaders who attend would lose their moral authority.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Pelosi's remarks were "full of lies" and that human rights were developing vigorously in China.

U.S. lawmakers have been increasingly vocal about an Olympic boycott or venue change, and have lashed out at American corporations, arguing their silence about what the State Department has deemed a genocide of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China was abetting the Chinese government.

Pelosi, a Democrat, told a bipartisan congressional hearing on the issue that heads of state around the world should shun the Games, scheduled for February.

"What I propose - and join those who are proposing - is a diplomatic boycott," Pelosi said, in which "lead countries of the world withhold their attendance at the Olympics."

"Let's not honor the Chinese government by having heads of state go to China," she added.

"For heads of state to go to China in light of a genocide that is ongoing - while you're sitting there in your seat - really begs the question, what moral authority do you have to speak again about human rights any place in the world?" she said.

An independent United Nations panel said in 2018 it had received credible reports that at least 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslims had been held in camps in China's Xinjiang region. Beijing describes them as vocational training centers to stamp out extremism, and strongly rejects accusations of abuse and genocide.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular news briefing in Beijing that Pelosi's remarks were "full of lies and false information," and the United States was afraid visiting countries would see China's "vigorous development of human rights".

In Washington, Chinese Embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu earlier told Reuters that U.S. attempts to interfere in China's domestic affairs over the Olympics were doomed to fail.

"I wonder what makes some U.S. politicians think they actually have the so-called moral authority? On human rights issues, they are in no position, either historically or currently, to make wanton groundless criticism against China," Liu said.

'HELD TO ACCOUNT'

Republican Congressman Chris Smith, who led the hearing, said corporate sponsors should be called to testify before Congress and be "held to account".

"Big business wants to make lots of money, and it doesn't seem to matter what cruelty - even genocide - that the host nation commits," Smith said.

Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern added the Games should be postponed to give the International Olympic Committee (IOC) time to "relocate to a country whose government is not committing atrocities."

"If we can postpone an Olympics by a year for a pandemic, we can surely postpone the Olympics for a year for a genocide," McGovern said, referring to the decision by Japan and the IOC to delay the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo due to COVID-19.

Demands for some form of boycott of the Beijing Games are growing.

Last month, Republican Senator Mitt Romney introduced an amendment to broader legislation to counter China that would implement a U.S. diplomatic boycott.

And a coalition of human rights activists on Tuesday called for athletes to boycott the Games and put pressure on the IOC.

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration has said it hopes to develop a joint approach with allies to participation in Beijing's Olympics, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken has repeatedly said the issue has not yet been broached in discussions.

Asked about Pelosi's comments, a senior U.S. administration official told Reuters the administration's position on the 2022 Olympics had not changed.

Biden, a Democrat, has said China is America's strategic competitor, and has vowed to not let the country surpass the United States as a world leader on his watch.

Proponents of Americans competing in Beijing's Olympics say it would be unfair to punish athletes, and the Games would provide a platform for the United States, which has one of the highest Winter Olympic medal counts, to show its vitality on the global stage.

Sarah Hirshland, the chief executive officer of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, said in a written statement the committee was concerned about the "oppression of the Uyghur population," but barring U.S. athletes from the Games was "certainly not the answer."

"Past Olympic boycotts have failed to achieve political ends," she said.

Pelosi calls for U.S. and world leaders to boycott China's 2022 Olympics
 

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Comments (25)
Murali Brahmandam
Murali Brahmandam May 19, 2021 8:15AM ET
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Repeated squirting of *******into female with a view to produce children who will grow up to cause trouble for others shall be punishable by removing the ability to squirt.
Murali Brahmandam
Murali Brahmandam May 19, 2021 6:31AM ET
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China must be given 2021 Nobel peace prize for their policies against enemies of humanity .. using sexual organs as means to indiscriminately produce children to turn them weapons against society calls for severe punishment
Murali Brahmandam
Murali Brahmandam May 19, 2021 6:26AM ET
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China has the legitimate right to discipline citizens that are anti national and destructive to their country. Producing children indiscriminately with a view to use them as weapons to cause trouble for others shall be punishable by extermination and other such measures
Gene Kret
Gene Kret May 19, 2021 5:54AM ET
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I wish i knew Nancy when she was in her 20’s. 🤔 Any pics?
Ominous Owl
Ominous Owl May 19, 2021 4:17AM ET
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Clearly, US is losing its edge. Like it or not, this is China's century.
Mr KP
Mr KP May 19, 2021 3:00AM ET
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what about China virus ?
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy May 18, 2021 11:06PM ET
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Thanks Nancy.  But I was expecting you say something when Chinese Virus was spreading.  That was more important than stu..pid Olympics.  Who cares about that?
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi May 18, 2021 11:06PM ET
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"But I was expecting you say something when Chinese Virus was spreading."  -- why did she need to say something when our president told us it was a hoax, and it was totally under control and going away?
Red Riley
Red Riley May 18, 2021 11:00PM ET
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boycott that Halloween face
Laurent Chavey
Laurent Chavey May 18, 2021 10:42PM ET
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pelosi... that says it all. time for her to retire
WILLIAM HAGERTY
WILLIAM HAGERTY May 18, 2021 9:22PM ET
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People train their whole lives for it. Just take it from them your good at that
Roger Miller
Roger Miller May 18, 2021 9:07PM ET
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Nice of Pelosi to send the message directly instead of through Joe. Creates the illusion of actual independent POTUS opinions and policy. Although I’m not sure if many will be fooled by it.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller May 18, 2021 9:07PM ET
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Is she not worried about causing more asian hate?
Laurent Chavey
Laurent Chavey May 18, 2021 9:07PM ET
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Roger Miller come on man :-)
David David
David9 May 18, 2021 9:07PM ET
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At the Alaska meeting, we heard China said, the world no longer depend on a few voices because there are hundred of voices in a multi polar world now ...
Roger Miller
Roger Miller May 18, 2021 9:07PM ET
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There has always been hundreds of voices. Question is whether or not they get listened to.
Paul Belflower
Paul Belflower May 18, 2021 8:41PM ET
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Yah and let’s keep wearing mask forever. Nancy, please go away. You are always NEGATIVE!
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey May 18, 2021 8:35PM ET
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And the world leaders are calling for her to pack it in(retire).....leave office!!
William Smith
William Smith May 18, 2021 8:04PM ET
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Guess according to the American hating leftists she's a racist now, oh wait, that would be Trump if he'd have done what she did.
Limin Tandiono
Limin Tandiono May 18, 2021 6:44PM ET
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In shorr, US is acting out of jeolousy. Trying all means to surppress in every front using absurd excuses. What a shame.
Ching Cha
Ching Cha May 18, 2021 6:24PM ET
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Agreed with Pelosi. It's time for all other world leaders to follow this. And This will happen mark my words.
Justo Disla
Justo Disla May 18, 2021 6:22PM ET
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What is US record on human rights. Guantánamo, enhanced interrogatories, wedding dron strikes, assange... Hmmm.
jack hong
jack hong May 18, 2021 6:22PM ET
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when they turn the subject to poor US human rights record, it's a tacit admission that China does have grave human rights issues.
Ching Cha
Ching Cha May 18, 2021 6:22PM ET
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US has got better transparency on whatever aspect compare to China. China is far far away from transparency. If we rank any country on transparency China might be on top from bottom.
Joey Joey
Joey Joey May 18, 2021 6:20PM ET
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Silly thing to say while the US is funding Israel and supporting the b_o,mb-ings of civilian Mu-slim-s in Pa-les-tine
Franco Dominguez
Franco Dominguez May 18, 2021 6:16PM ET
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china is the new imperial
Catholic Man
CatholicMan May 18, 2021 2:55PM ET
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I think she means athletes would still compete, but we wouldn’t send any leaders. I don’t think anyone would notice it either way
Justo Disla
Justo Disla May 18, 2021 2:55PM ET
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What leaders would those be?
Laurent Chavey
Laurent Chavey May 18, 2021 2:55PM ET
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the same ones that wasted our tax money and could not spare us from the virus.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan May 18, 2021 2:49PM ET
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It will be crybabies kneeling and men conpeting again women. No loss to the US.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan May 18, 2021 2:49PM ET
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against
Catholic Man
CatholicMan May 18, 2021 2:48PM ET
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Why is she speaking sense, is she drunk?
danny Levine
danny Levine May 18, 2021 2:25PM ET
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no one watches anyway. I don't wanna see woke mobs kneeling during anthem
The Great
The Great May 18, 2021 2:23PM ET
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One of the few things that I can agree with Pelosi about.
Wiktor Plewa
Wiktor Plewa May 18, 2021 2:23PM ET
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Yes, because China as nr 1 economic power is unavoidable so true american patriots must boycott them. Great logic. I heard from President Biden that in US there is a "systemical rasicism" so maybe the rest of the world should boycott US instead, huh ?
 
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